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EDITING SHAMROCK ROSE AND THISTLE Ancestors of Jean Elizabeth Mathews

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Whitefield Watson


My Mathews Grandparents
On 29th September 1908, Robert Walter Mathews (aged 27) married Jane Dreghorn Douglas, (aged 34, widow of Samuel Welsh) at 150 Adamswell Street, Glasgow, which was Jane's residence.  Robert's occupation was given as Ship's Steward, and his usual place of residence -  Liverpool.
Jane was born 16th October 1873 in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, and was the daughter of Robert Douglas (occupation Slater) and Elizabeth Walker. Jane had 3 children from her prior marriage to Samuel Welsh, Elizabeth, Martin & Mary Welsh.  Robert and Jane had 2 children together, a daughter Florence, b. Springburn, Glasgow, 190?? and my father Robert Walter Mathews (jr) b. Springburn Glasgow, 1 May, 1912.
In the 1920's sometime, Robert & Jane came to New Zealand with Mary (May) Welsh, Florence, and the young Robert.   Jane's other daughter Elizabeth (Lizzie) Welsh,  remained in Scotland to marry, and her elder son Martin Welsh was already in New Zealand, and encouraged the family to come here to settle. 
Jane Douglas died 21 September, 1962, aged 89 years, at Lower Hutt Hospital, New Zealand.  Robert Mathews died 16 October, 1962, aged 82, at Lower Hutt Hospital, New Zealand.
Both Robert & Jane's ashes were scattered in the Rose Garden at Karori Cemetery, Wellington. NZ



My great-grandfather, Whitefield Watson was born on 18 April, 1862, in New Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland.  He was the son of Joseph Watson (b. England around 1834 - probably Durham), and Elizabeth Walker (b. New Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, around 1837).


According to the 1881 census, Whitefield had one brother & 2 sisters born before 1881, and living at that address.  


The 1881 census listing is as follows:-

10 Connel Park, New Cumnock, Ayrshire


WATSON   Joseph         M   Head   Coal Miner     47    M   

Born  England


WATSON    Elizabeth    M   Wife                              44     F   

Born New Cumnock


WATSON    Whitefield  U    Son      Coal Miner    18     M   

Born New Cumnock


WATSON  Susanna      U    Daur                             13      F

Born New Cumnock


WATSON    John            U   Son      Scholar          10     M    

Born New Cumnock


WATSON    Catherine   U   Daur                               5      F    

Born New Cumnock




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The IGI shows there were more children born to Joseph Watson & Elizabeth Walker, so Whitefield was one of 9 children born between 1855 & 1874.  The IGI lists the following children born to Joseph Watson and Elizabeth Walker before 1875, all born in New Cumnock.  Catherine Watson appears in the 1881 census as being 5 years old, so she would have been born c1876.  That now brings the total up to 10 children born to Joseph & Elizabeth.   Some of these children have the same names, so it is likely that the first child of that christian name did not live for long.  If a child died, it was common practice at that time to name the next born child of the same gender with the same first name.  There were also occasions when the next child, irrespective of gender, was given the deceased child's first name.  The following are the IGI listed children of Joseph Watson & Elizabeth Walker.


1.   Mary Ferguson Watson        12 April     1855               Birth

2.   Elizabeth Rane Watson       30 March   1858               Birth

3.   Elizabeth Watson                 24 November 1859          Christened

4.   Whitefield Watson               18 April 1862                    Birth

5.   John Walker Watson            29 August 1865                Birth

6.   Susannah Watson                7 February 1868               Birth

7.   John Watson                        13 November 1870           Birth

8.   Joseph Watson                     9 March 1872                   Birth

9.   Joseph Watson                     30 September 1874          Birth

Whitefield Watson's siblings known facts


Susannah                                    born 7 February 1868

                                                    Married (unknown) Gibb 


John                                            born 13 November 1870 

                                                    Married Elizabeth Sloan

                                                    They lived in Helenswood Cottage

                                                    Connel Park.  Cottage still there in 2003.


Catherine                                     born c1876.

                                                     Married David McCallum

The following description is of the house that Whitefield Watson was living in c.1881 at 10 Connel Park with his parents, Joseph & Elizabeth, sisters Susannah & Catherine, and brother John, all named in the 1881 census above.  This description was kindly given to me by Robert Hart, of Cumnock, Scotland.    Robert himself lived in this very same house during his early childhood, from 1950 until 1952.  This is his recollection of the house.


"The house consisted of two rooms, one a living area and one a kitchen.  The living room had two built-in beds in the wall, there would be curtains drawn across these through the day when not in use.   There was a coal fired range where all the cooking was done and kettle boiled.


There was a door to the kitchen where you had to step down two steps to get to the floor level.   It was just a plain cement floor with a drain at the wall.  There was only a very small window on the back wall, with a big white sink in front of it, with one cold water tap only.   In the corner was a large round boiler built into a brick surround, with an opening under it at the front for a fire, so as to heat the water.   There was a big wooden cover fitted over it, so no weans would fall in and get scalded.


There was always a large tin bath hung on the wall near the back door.   The water was boiled by the wife, who then paled it out into the bath, which was placed in the middle of the kitchen floor for her man to wash in when he came home from his shift at the pit.   When he finished his bath, the water was poured out onto the floor to clean it, and then brushed down the drain.


I have always mind of, in the spring, you would go through into the kitchen in the morning, and there would be nothing but frogs jumping all over the floor, for they would have come up through the drain at night.


The wife would boil  more water and wash the pit clothes in the large sink, using a scrubbing board and bars of soap.  Then they would be dried in front of the fire, in winter, for her husband to wear for his next shift at the pit.   That happened six days a week, only a Sunday off, what a life!


There was no inside toilet, you had to go to the communal toilets at the back of the rows.   There was a small garden at the front, facing onto the main road.  


The Clauchan was next door.   This was a large room, where the men would play dominoes, cards, darts and carpet bowls - this was a place where the day's work would be talked about.   I bet there was more coal shovelled there than was ever done at the pit".


My sincere thanks to Robert Hart for his description of life in a miner's row cottage.   When I visited New Cumnock in 2003, Robert took me to see where the miners row cottages had once been.  Sadly, there are no more of the row cottages left now, just a waste area, with scrub and a few remnants of maybe what were foundations.  Robert showed me the exact spot where No. 10 Connel Park was, in the Long Row, where this Watson family lived.  Just down the row, No. 3, where Whitefield's future wife Jessie McMillan Mason lived, and No. 5, where their daughter (my Nanny) Elizabeth Walker Boyd Watson) was born in 18xxx

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Douglas Walker Howie Reid - Ayrshire - Dunoon & Argyll
McAughtrie Cowan Lotimer Houston Williamson - Ayrshire
Watson  Walker Ferguson Mason Nicholson Boyd McMillan - Ayrshire
Sherriff's officer
Stane Dyker
Pilot   (not Concorde)!
Iron Miners
Coal  Miners
And loads of hard-working women who bore many children!
New Cumnock, Ochiltree, St Quivox, Maybole, Cumnock, Wigton, Penningham and other parts of Ayrshire.
Back to England late 1700's early 1800's

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